Experimental Farm Network - Nyirsegi Black Locust

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11/22/2023 10:27:12
A common tree in much of the US today, the original range of black locust is thought to be the Eastern Appalachian mountains and the Ozarks. Black locust is a thorny, suckering tree that will generally keep coming back after being chopped to the ground. Like many native trees, black locust is a pollinator magnet and provides lots of nectar for honeybees. It’s long been used by farmers and homesteaders for building, fencing, and firewood, because it's one of the most durable, rot-resistant native hardwoods (surpassed by Osage orange and little else). It also burns as hot as coal.

Black locust recently gained traction among agroforestry practitioners as a coppice species providing animal forage and nitrogen cycling services. A truly versatile plant, its aromatic cream-colored flowers are delicious batter dipped and fried. They also make a great springtime iced or hot tea. The seed pods contain a tangy, sweet paste, like a North American version of tamarind.

'Nyirségi' is a cold hardy (Zone 5) Hungarian forestry selection with a straight and tall growth habit, making it ideal for various timber uses.